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EXHIBITIONS

Katja Novitskova “Green Growth”, “Picture This” and “read the room / you’ve got to” at SALTS, Basel

Today, once again, a meteorite has hit the garden

And again, civilization has been put to sleep for long enough to allow it to fall into complete oblivion.

They will find traces, fragments, hints. Green arrows, aluminium boards with remnants of brightly-colored feathers, piercing blue eyes, cigarette butts, dead insects, earth-scented plasma and plastic stones….

How will they possibly imagine the exponential technological turn that took place right before the end? The omnipresence of humanoid computers, consequence of a goofed evolution, had changed the brain functions and affected major geologic and atmospheric patterns, unleashing anti-Cartesian and phantasmagoric knowledge among humans.

(…)

The beauty of a salto mortale is largely shaped by the chaos that precedes it; a turmoil of emotions, knowledge, progress, and power. A productive anarchy often triggered by a significant innovation.

The month Katja Novitskova’s Green Growth opens, three remarkable evolutionary incidents have been related in the news. My attention was caught after noticing a significant number of reposts and likes.

My selection. Their attention.

As a result of what I’m tempted to call an “awry technological metamorphosis”, plastic rocks have recently been found in Hawaii. A consequence of geological mutation, “plastiglomerate” are a new type of rock made of plastic, sand, seashells, corals, and volcanic gravel. A new material is formed artificially-naturally in waste dumps, where fragments of plastic can be melted by a heat source, be it a volcanic eruption or a forest fire.

Nature adapting to technological surplus. Alarmed scientists fear the overexposure to screens might result in a lasting attention deficit, while anxious Christians dread Pope Francis would baptize aliens. ADD is the new multitasking. The brain adapts to higher frequency cycles, to lol cats—“Who are we to close the doors?”

???????

Meanwhile a chatbot is wrongly reported to have passed the Turing test, which requires a machine to convince human interrogators during a series of keyboard conversations that it itself is also human. An army of analysts fearing for the AI pioneer’s credibility managed to widely disprove the claim, between the early hours of the 9th of June and late afternoon on the 10th. Witnessing the agitation on social networks such possibility triggered, I thought: “the fox is in the henhouse”; soon enough the oldest sci-fi fantasy will become a reality. It made me feel alive.

Today the fake trees look more beautiful than the actual trees in the garden. Coated with a high-tech UV protection film, they will survive the end of the world. They will show them how beautiful and real nature should look like. When all the organic woods are gone, those amputated ones will remain, here, for the next generations, forever.

Elise Lammer

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at SALTS, Basel

until 19 July 2014

Katja Novitskova, “Green Growth” installation views at SALTS, Basel, 2014

Photos: Gunnar Meier.

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“Picture This”

Giovanni Carmine from Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen and Samuel Leuenberger from SALTS present a group show of artists Navid Nuur, Emanuel Röhss, Amanda Ross-Ho and Fredrik Værslev.

Titled “Picture This,” the exhibition title was chosen as a way to encourage the viewer to encounter the interwoven poetry that might or might not emerge during a given viewing.

The exhibition emphasizes the complementary, sometimes similar performative strategy the four artists explore during the making and displaying of their work. Here, the medium can be understood as a meditation on the material, while nourishing an elementary relationship to sculpture, yet retaining a strong interest in the discourse of painting. Material against surface, automated layering, forms against holes, remnants of past stories, monochrome patterns, all the works presented are concerned with the removal, translation and poetisation of gestures. Although formally referring to abstraction, the works bear a strong figurative load, if only suggested, by the various props and anecdotes that surround them. This genesis, far from being abstract, creates the narratives that precedes or follows the making of each work.

Emanuel Röhss’ Knut Ljungfelt and Mother Sweden, form a two-part painting installation which create a sort of double-portrait; side by side, they are laid flat on top of a low structure. Röhss’s paintings are often adapting to the architectural features of the space he exhibits in. Here at SALTS, they are turned into flat landscape, which occupy the center of the space, creating a strong interaction, almost like a meeting point for all the surrounding works. The paintings’ titles are based on people the artist knows and they reflect a pseudo scientific investigation into the colour scheme of his “friend’s” domestic interiors. The artist selects images from his archive and filters out the the four most dominant hues present inside these people’s homes. The light situation in the photographs are determining a lot in the final color information but at the end his interest lays primarily in the relation to the idea of peoples subjective taste and how that is manifest in their domestic realm. Once this research is established, the artist rigoursly works the foundation of the canvas before spraying the canvas in the different layers, alluding to the idea of the photographic, his painterly gesture become one inspired by the digital pixelation that is imbedded in the source material.

Responding to Röhss dual work, Navid Nuur’s works are stretched raw linen canvas’, always hung next to an Iphone. As suggested by their titles, Smoke Bomb Painting I, they are part of a series which were generated while exposed to smoke bombs as part of his exhibition at OUI Center of Contemporary Art in Grenoble. A room hung full of raw canvas’ he detonated various coloured smoke bombs documenting the process with his Iphone from afar, his looped video which are usually hung as pendent with his painting take witness of the mechanical aggression the works were exposed to, the process which made them all unique works wihtin the same outset. Sharing some formal similarities with Navid Nuur’s works, Fredrik Værslev’s Untitled paintings also bears the physical marks or scars of its making. Værslev’s painting are made flat on the floor and like Röhss are sprayed on the one hand and hand-worked on the other, these canvas’ are soaked in white spirit to the degree that they can be reworked for a long time and by applying different pressure on the spray can, he controls the amount of paint that can exit the can. The size of his drippings and moreover the re-working of the various parts, lets him add and subtract paint until his compostions are deemed finished compositions. His paintings are a always a mix between chance encounters, the outdoors and weathering effects on his pieces and on the other hand by the determined mark makings taken from industrial processes.

Following her long-term interest for assemblages that combine painted artifacts with everyday objects, Amanda Ross-Ho’s Untitled Textile Arrangement (Towel Rack) is a typical wall towel rack as one might find in a hotel room, in which the artist squeezes rolled-up towels which have been painted over. The Sprinkled, washed-away and sprayed colors applied on a material that evokes a daily ritual, combines the artistic gesture to the banal, implying a story one can never entirely grasp, but only imagine. A stack of rolled up towels create a progression of modular quality, regreasing from bigger to smaller the further up the composition runs. The second work by Ross-Ho, Sieve #4, (SHITHOLE), 2012, is part of a series of dropcloths which have been laundered and then embellished with various materials, and hung directly on the wall with simple thumbtacks that are selected from the studio as well and maintain a patina of use. The artits described this work herself as some of her most authentic primary works done in the studio compared to her more later, orchestrated and invented compositions. Both works speak to the designated space the viewer is found within when looking at painting, something she purposully deconstructs on an anatomical level to some degree.

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at SALTS, Basel

until 21 July 2014

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Above – Amanda Ross-Ho, Untitled Textile Arrangement (Towel Rack), 2014

“Picture This”, installation views at SALTS, Basel, 2014

Photos: Gunnar Meier.

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“read the room / you’ve got to”

Etel Adnan / Kolt Beringer / Harry Burke / Cynthia Cruz / Olivia Dunbar / Andrew Durbin / Ida Ekblad / Heike- Karin Föll / Lauren Gault / Harmony Holiday / Karl Holmqvist / Romain Juan / Joan Naviyuk Kane / John Kelsey / Paul Kneale / Sophie Jung / Sophia Le Fraga / Joshua Marie Wilkinson / Garrett Nelson / Collier Nogues / Sophie Nys / Fatuma Osman / Vanessa Place / Lauren Printy Currie / Megan Rooney / Andrew Seguin / Donna Stonecipher / Sue Tompkins / Martina-Sofie Wildberger / Hannah Woo / Lynn Xu. Curated by Quinn Latimer for The Printed Room at SALTS.

The exhibition “read the room / you’ve got to” explores the current blurring of borders between poetic and visual arts practices, as well as analogue and digital processes, while taking up the history of mail art in the internet age. The show is comprised of works on A4 paper—many of them made specifically for this exhibition—that the participating poets and artists chose to mail or email to the curator. In the case of the latter, the works were then printed out using a standard inkjet printer. From poems crafted from email spam to poems made from film-still subtitles to poems emerging from more traditional painting and drawing and typographic practices, the works on view describe the discursive range of contemporary poetics and the visual art oeuvres under that indelible influence.
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at SALTS, Basel

until 21 July 2014

“read the room / you’ve got to”, installation views at SALTS, Basel, 2014

Photos: Gunnar Meier.

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